December 26, 2013

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Paik goes back in time for the best of the rest

Top Ten Reissues and Archival Collections

Orchestra Super Mazembe

Mazembe @ 45RPM, Vol. 1 

The discovery of the year for this writer—this collection of late-’70s singles from the Nairobi, Kenya band Orchestra Super Mazembe (“giant bulldozer orchestra”) features the irrepressible, upbeat sonic fabric of the dance music style Lingala, with fluid, spirited call-and-response vocals, animated drum rhythms and absolutely gorgeous, effortlessly flowing electric guitar melodies.

Herbie Hancock

The Complete Columbia Album Collection 1972-1988 

The fearless, innovative jazz keyboardist virtuoso gets the royal treatment in this humongous 34-CD collection, with generous helpings of acoustic jazz and electro-funk plus disco and hip-hop infusions; of note, eight albums here have never before been released outside Japan, and three have never been on CD.

Sun City Girls

Eye Mohini

The mind-bogglingly diverse, frequently astounding, unclassifiable, ethno-pillaging trio Sun City Girls serves up its most satisfying volume in its out-of-print singles reissue series so far, globe-trotting from north Africa to Indonesia and elsewhere, with a daring eclecticism, provocative madness and mind-expanding musicianship.

Miles Davis Quintet

Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 

Davis’s transitional “lost quintet” after his Second Great Quintet and before his full-on “Electric Miles” jazz-fusion mode is documented on three blistering CDs and one DVD, mixing standards with fiery new material, like “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down,” with an aggressively free attitude.

Half Japanese

entlemen/Not Beasts

One hell of a debut album, this legendary 1980 triple-album features brothers Jad and David Fair untrained and unrestrained, making incredibly raw, primitive and charmingly juvenile songs; it’s completely bonkers and never boring.

William Onyeabor

World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who Is William Onyeabor?

This killer compilation of the mythical Nigerian electro-dance-funk master, active in the ’70s and ’80s, is an instant party, sporting slithering grooves with compelling hooks that won’t let go.

Various Artists


This meticulously documented 2-CD set, subtitled “Italian Electronic & New Wave Underground 1980-1988,” highlights largely unknown acts bearing post-punk and industrial music sources, with Italy’s turmoil-ridden “Years of Lead” period of history serving as the backdrop.

Woody Guthrie

American Radical Patriot

With six CDs, one DVD and a 78-rpm record, this collects the recordings by the profoundly influential “Dust Bowl Troubadour” commissioned by the U.S. government in the ’40s, with a wealth of material recorded by Alan Lomax, radio skits and amusing curiosities, including a set of PSAs about VD.

Neil Young

Live at the Cellar Door 

These intimate recordings culled from a six-gig solo run at the Washington, D.C. venue in 1970 present Young at his vulnerable, heart-breaking best, with notable renditions of “Cinnamon Girl” and “Flying on the Ground Is Wrong” on the piano instead of guitar.

The Three O’Clock

The Hidden World Revealed

This collection of high-quality rarities and key tracks from the early-to-mid period of one of the quintessential Paisley Underground bands of the ’80s showcases the California band’s infectious combinations of ’60s psychedelia, garage rock and power-pop.


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